Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Here are the finished products just as I started assembling the plates so it's not that great of a picture:BUT, I wanted to show off my new hair cut. I am a little vain this week, but I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my hair, and I feel pretty hot right now. I told you I am a little vain. But, you have to understand that I have had "mommy hair" for the past 20 years. I know I got the short end of the pretty stick, so I have to admit that I am greatly enjoying the compliments I have been getting. I will repent tomorrow.
On to the recipes.
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels:
Melt chocolate in the microwave (many of the recipes require you to do this- the best way Ihave found to do this is to microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave 1 minute, stir, etc.)
Place pretzels in chocolate. Remove with a fork. Place on wax paper to dry.
Magic Cookie Bars
Here's a link to the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/magic-cookie-bars-from-eagle-brand/Detail.aspx
This is perhaps the greatest treat on the planet, and very easy to make.
Rice Krispies: on the box, but I wanted to just say that I make them every year and they are ALWAYS the first things to disappear, so I will continue to make them as they seem to be a favorite treat.
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c Miracle Whip
1/4 cup sugar
2 bars (7 oz. each) milk chocolate candy, broken into pieces, divided
1 c mini-marshmallows
Heat oven to 350 F. Mix crumbs, dressing, and sugar; press into 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with 1 1/2 of the chocolate bars; continue baking 2 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over crumb mixture. Top with marshmallows.
Microwave remaining 1 1/2 of the chocolate bar in microwave-safe bowl one high 30 seconds. Drizzle over marshmallows. Refrigerate. Makes 24.
I made these this year, and I am not sure that I like the Miracle Whip in it, but you can't really taste it so it is good. They turned out great, and I will make them again. This is a recipe from Kraft Foods.
Milk Chocolate and Caramel Clusters- I absolutely LOVE these- I always double this, and it is one of my favorites! This recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens- the best cookbook ever.
12 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup milk chocolate pieces
2 T water
2 c honey graham cereal, slightly srushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 c peanuts
Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper; set aside. In a heavy medium saucepan combine caramels, chocolate pieces, and water. Heat and stir over low heat until caramels are melted. Remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts.
Working quickly, drop cereal mixture from a teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheets. Let stand until firm.
Marbled Mint Bark- LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe for Christmas- super easy, and super yummy! Again, from the Better Homes Cookbook.
1 lb. vanilla flavored candy coating, cut up (I use white chocolate bark)
3/4 cup finely crushed red and/or green striped peppermint candies (I use candy canes)
Red food coloring- optional
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate pieces
Line baking sheet with foil, set aside
In a microwave-safe bowl microwave candy coating pieces on 100 percent power for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in crushed candies and, if desired, red food coloring to tint to desired color. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Spread to about 1/4-inch thickness.
Melt chocolate pieces in microwave. Drizzle over peppermint mixture.
Let candy stand about 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; carefully break candy into pieces. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to two weeks.
5 minute fudge: I won't give you this recipe because it was given to me from a friend and I don't know if it's a family recipe or something, but it is YUMMY!
That's pretty much it- if you have any questions, let me know!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Claire turned 5 months old today, and this past month has been interesting.
You all know Claire has been sleeping with us, and that had been working out perfectly. But, about 3 weeks ago she started waking up 5, 6, 7 times a night just screaming. Ben started sleeping in Claire's room again, and I started getting zero sleep again. Right before Thanksgiving I had a breakdown and Ben got to hear more four letter words come out of my mouth then ever before, and I knew things had to change. I decided to try sleep training her in her crib. So, the day before Thanksgiving I put her in her crib for the very first time to try and take a nap. It didn't work very well- she only napped for about 30 minutes, but at least it was a start.
I should interject and say that I absolutely HATE the cry-it-out method. I know many of you use it and love it and have had great success with it and that is wonderful. But, for me I don't like it- it failed miserably with Audra and I never want to go through that again. But, we do like Dr. Ferber's method. He is a cross between cry-it-out and go to them every time they cry. Basically, you let them cry for 5 minutes then go in and soothe, then let them cry for 7 minutes and go in and soothe, etc.
The day after Thanksgiving we decided to give it a try. I could never let her cry for a full 5 minutes before I went in to soothe her, so I went in every few minutes. But, she has actually always been able to self soothe, and this method seems to be working well. The first couple nights were rough, but last week she slept until 5:30, then just nursed and fell back asleep until 9. That gave me hope, which was quickly dashed by 2 horrible nights in a row, but the last 4 nights she has just woken up once around 3:30 to nurse, then she goes back to sleep until morning. She goes to bed in her crib great, without any crying, and she is now napping for longer stretches of time in her crib which is great! Of course, it would be better if I was home more for her naps, but we are doing our best.
So, hopefully (I really don't want to jinx this!) we have a sleep-trained little girl without hardly any crying. At least until she starts teething. Or gets sick. Or has a growth spurt. Or gets shots...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Total Spent: $ 231.35
Not bad, but I am still not to my goal of only 200/month. But, I started out at over 400 a month so I am feeling pretty good! Plus, I did have one "binge" week where I bought a lot of stuff not on sale and without coupons because I needed things for Thanksgiving pies. Oh, well- I still came out looking good!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I wish the pictures could do justice of how much Audra enjoyed it (well, there are actually two houses on the same block that are both spectacular). When we got home she just rambled on and on and on about it. I didn't understand anything she said, except for the word "lights" randomly blurted out.
These videos are not exciting, but I thought my mom would enjoy them.
We highly recommend taking the fam to see these houses- they really are unbelievable! If you head east on Belleview from Santa Fe, you will go to Elati- about 6 blocks or so before Broadway. Turn left (north) on Elati, and you can not miss them! Bring a couple of singles if you can because they do ask for donations to help pay for electricity, and you will agree that they probably need the help- and that it is well worth the money!!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It ended up turning out fantastic (a little surprising since I was the one in charge), and I am certain we will be grateful for it for years to come. This is the reason, however, that we will never move: I am never taking that down and reinstalling it anywhere else! This turned out to be a mammoth project. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I ever do it again? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
And Ben has forbidden me from getting anymore ideas. Smart man.
Monday, November 23, 2009
And what do Daddy and Claire do while we work so hard:We set up the train- Audra's favorite:And voila! Our Christmas tree:I don't know what it is about setting up the tree, but it stirs a number of emotions. As I was watching Audra and Ben set up the train and looking at the tree, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings we have. It is fitting, of course, since this is the week of Thanksgiving, to be reminded of all that I am grateful for.
First and foremost, I am grateful for Christ and His gospel in my life. I am grateful to know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me.
I am grateful for my family- for my beautiful girls and my hottie of a husband- who loves me more then I ever thought possible. I'm grateful for my sisters and my brother and my in-laws. I am incredibly grateful to my parents who put up with a lot of crap from me, but still helped me turn out OK.
I am grateful for the greatest friends in the world- you guys keep me going!
I am grateful that my life has truly brought me happiness. I never in a million years would have dreamed I could be so happy. Is life perfect? Heavens NO! There are definitely days I want to pull my hair out and call it quits. But, in the end, being able to sit and watch the Christmas tree while enjoying LIFE is the best thing in the world. And I am grateful.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Yippee- Ben finally got the promotion they have been promising him for over a year!!!! Good job sweetie, you have definitely earned it!!!!
Then, Audra has been waking up throwing up really badly several times in the last few weeks. We took her to the doctor and hopefully found the problem: constipation! Who would have thought those two were connected? So, yippee for prune juice, finding the solution to the problem, and no more puking at night (though now we might need to change diapers at night)!!!!
Monday, November 16, 2009
OK, here is how I scored the sweet deals.
I am going to show you my Safeway deals because those were the best ones I got last week. I choose between Albertsons, Safeway, or Kings Soopers depending on which one has the best deals for that week. Sometimes I will go to 2 stores, if they are both having stellar deals and I have time (you still need to remember that I am about the cheapest woman in America so a great deal really gets me excited). Target and Wal-Mart are not good places to grocery shop with coupons because:
1. They don't double coupons- that adds up to tons of missed savings! (make sure wherever you go they will double your coupons- the chain grocers will typically double them up to 1.00)
2. They don't have the "mega events"- promotions like if you buy 10 participating items you get 5.00 off your order and things like that. Again, it leaves a lot of savings still in their pocket- not yours!
My shopping trip:
2 C&H Brown Sugar (2 lb bags)- on sale for 1.69 each. I had a coupons for .65 off of two, so I bought 2 for 3.38 and got a dollar off (the coupon doubled to 1.00) so I paid 2.28 for two things of 2 lb. brown sugar
2 C&H Powdered Sugar (2 lb. bags)- same deal as above
Gold Medal 5 lb. bag of flour- on sale for 2.00. No coupons, but a good price.
Nature Valley Nut Cluster- On sale for 2.99. I had an e-coupon for 1.00 off and a manufacturer's coupon for 1.00 off so the total cost came to .99.
Betty Crocker cookie mix- on sale for 1.69, had a coupon for .40 off, doubled to .80 off- total cost .89
Betty crocker frosting- on sale for 1.50, coupon for .50 off, doubled to 1.oo off- total cost .50
Green Giant canned veggies- on sale for .39. No coupons, but a great price- got 6 for 2.34
Sugar- 2.00 for 5 lb bag- no coupons, good price, got 4 bags for 8.00
Salt- needed it so I got it for .49
Progresso Soup- on sale for 1.00 a can. I had a ton of coupons which all doubled so I got 9 cans for 4.70
Ritz Crackers- regularly 3.99 each, on sale for buy one get one free. Plus, I had 2 1.00 off coupons, so I got two boxes of Ritz crackers for 2.00
Oregano- on sale for 2.02, had a coupon for .50, doubled to 1.00 total cost 1.02
Argo Corn starch- on sale for 1.49, had coupon for .50, total cost- .49
Pillsbury cookie dough- on sale for 2.50, had coupon for .50, total cost 1.50
Scrubbing Bubbles Bath Cleaner- regularly 3.99 each. On sale for buy one get one free PLUS if you bought 3 or more the price dropped to 1.99 each. I got 4 cans. Two were free because of the BOGO deal. The other two cans were 1.99 each, for a total of 4 dollars. I had two coupons for 2 dollars off two cans. Because I bought 4 cans, I got to use both coupons, so I got them all for FREE!!!
Then, Safeway is currently doing a deal where if you buy 25 dollars in participating baking items you get a 5 dollar coupon off your next purchase. I had a coupon from last week for doing that, so I got an extra 5 dollars off my order, plus I earned another 5 dollars off my next order (hence all the baking goods I bought).
Have I confused you yet???
You will notice this is all "fluff" foods- no meal foods or produce. I went to King Soopers for that and spent 33 dollars for an entire weeks worth of real food groceries. All of this food went right into food storage- where it will be used in the future! So, I basically went to Safeway just to take advantage of their great deals and stock up.
I hope this shows you that it is a lot of work, BUT- it really does work!!!! Find websites for your area that break the deals down for you- I found one in Utah called www.utahdealdiva.com and I already posted one for here and for Seattle. Ask around- surely someone you know is doing this if you want to get in on this! And, feel free to ask questions- you CAN do this! I was such a skeptic, and now I am amazed that even I am able to get $120 worth of groceries for $26!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
She loves to stand, just like Audra did. They are so similar.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Yes, that's right 85 CENTS! I promise I won't share every good deal I get, but I was pretty proud of myself for this one! I was actually planning for it all last night as I was sleeping. While this may not be all that exciting to you, for a stay-at-home mom with nothing better to do (yeah, right), this was very exciting!
I started coupon-ing at the end of last month when I saw how successful my friend was. I feel like I have been spending WAY too much on groceries, and I wanted to cut down on that cost. I just added up my numbers for October, and I did a complete double take! I actually recounted the numbers because I didn't believe it. Here are the numbers:
Average grocery bill per month for the past 6 months: $403.74 (WAY too much for 2-1/2 people)
October grocery bill: $288.33
Amount saved by using coupons and shopping sales: $307.24
HOLY COW!!! Can you believe those numbers? I couldn't either- I can't wait to show Ben and tell him how awesome I am!!! Not only did I spend TONS less, but the biggest differene is that my cupboards are FULL- I put a lot into food storage this month, I bought almost all name brands, and we have TONS of food to eat!!!! Thank you soooooooooo much for helping me out and giving me the encouragement to do this, Jen N!!!! I was a total skeptic, I did NOT think using coupons would work- and look at what I have been able to accomplish in just ONE month!!!! Thank you also to my in-laws who have started giving me their coupons so I can save even more!!!!
I have a ways to go before I reach my goal, however. I want to get down to $200 a month. Whew- that will cut my food budget in half. I will post my monthly totals, and if you want to know how to get into this whole new world of saving money (tax free!), let me know and I'll answer your questions. I'm so excited about this!!!!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I think Claire is being eaten here:So I guess Halloween wasn't so bad after all!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
In honor of their continued fight, my sister and I have teamed up in a fundraising event for the Fischers. Money raised will be donated to Cici's hyperbaric treatment fund (these are $200 a session, and in order to be effective they do large amounts of sessions in a short period of time- 60 sessions in 30 days- obviously, this is extremely expensive and insurance won't cover it at all. BUT- it is working, and Cici has greatly improved as a result of these treatments!).
From now until November 15th, you can order Mary Kay Cosmetics and Skin Care from my website* at http://www.marykay.com/cmarriott
and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the fund. Mary Kay continues to be an industry leader in the cosmetic and skin industry, with a plethera of new and exciting products just in time for the Christmas season. I can create gift baskets to fit any budget- FREE of charge! Also, shipping is FREE for any orders placed in the continental US. If you have any questions, simply contact me.
Also, any orders placed for Sandbox Creations- beautiful and fun gifts for girls- at http://www.decremer.org/sandboxcreations/ until November 15th will have profits donated to the Fischer family as well. If you have any special request, simply contact Stephanie and she will customize your order special to fit your needs!
There are a couple of ways to get involved:
1. Order gifts for yourself, family, or friends
2. Spread the word- we don't care who orders, we just want to raise as much money as possible for this wonderful and deserving family!!!
*If you already have a MK consultant, rather than ordering from me, please ask your current consultant to donate a portion of any orders you make from now until the 15th to this fund.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Claire "hung out" with Daddy the whole time:
This is Audra's first Birthday cake- at least, that had chocolate in it. Our plan of only feeding her healthy foods so she will have an aversion to sweets is working- she only liked the ice-cream part, not the chocolate cake part:
Oh, and yes Audra did pick out her outfit. And, yes, we did let her go out in public dressed like that. Pick and choose the battles, my friends, pick and choose the battles!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
And this:To this:And this:
I have been begging Ben since the day we bought the house to let me replace the 1980's glass and brass- but he thought that was a complete waste of money (he is always so practical). Now we have new chandeliers and I LOVE them!!!! Yippee!!!!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Also, my friends' husband started a conservative political blog, and I thought since you all get to read my liberal rants from time to time, and I also promote the Political Moms site which is more liberal, I would give you guys his site to check out as well: http://thewtfreport.blogspot.com/
Now you can't say I'm totally one-sided!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And this:Her absolutely fun and eccentric personality that now requires her to wear a dress to bed at night, the way she says, "help, please, mama", begs me to let her hold Claire, and gets strawberry juice all over her face- I love her so much, and I know I really will miss these times- no matter how frustrating they are right now. We were watching some video of her last night (Audra's favorite thing to do- look at pictures of herself) from last Christmas, and I was reminded again that she really is growing up so fast, and I am grateful for this time I have with her- even if I need to give myself a time-out to cry every now and again.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
It is based in Colorado Springs, but seems to work the same here as well. It is a group of moms (I am guessing) who put together lists of all the great deals at local grocery stores and shops. I am starting to be a coupon-er and this has been a huge help because it tells you what is on sale and what coupon to use with it to get the best deals. You have to search a little bit to find whatever store you go to, but go and check it out- it is pretty cool!!!
Also, October 7th is a free day at the zoo. If the weather is nice, I think I am going to take the girls down. It's a Wednesday, so I don't think it will be too busy (hmm...we'll see). E-mail me if you are interested in meeting us there!!!!
Monday, September 28, 2009
To see the auction, go here: http://www.bidsforcici.org/
From there, you register with the site and then start bidding away (don't bid on what I am bidding on! Just kidding- I hope you do, so we raise more money for such a great family!)
To read more about their story, and how FABULOUS Cici is doing as a result of all of her therapies (as well as how much these therapies cost and why they need fundraisers!), go here: www.colofisch.blogspot.com
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Forget about the swing (I AM still a mom), and you have to admit: that looks pretty dang sweet, right?
Here is what we (mostly me, but Ben was a HUGE help with the painting- thank goodness!) did:
Paint- we went with a light blue, and I have to say: I HATE painting!!! I have decided it is like childbirth: during the process it is horrible and you wonder why on earth you are putting yourself through it, but in the end it is worth it. Cost: $90.00
Curtains: I made the curtains (don't look too closely at the "straight" lines). Cost: $14.00
Comforter: I was most worried about this, because let's face it- comforters are EXPENSIVE! But, then one night I realized: I can just flip the comforter upside down and then it will be a nice white comforter! Cost: FREE!
Pillowcases: I made the blue pillowcases, and recovered the green pillow: it used to be red. Cost: $8.00
Art: I like to have pictures of us on the wall- I don't care if it is against the designers code. So, I had a bunch of old picture frames and I painted them black. Cost: Free!
Pictures over the dresser: I made those, and those were a bit trickier. Cost: $9.00.
So I did the whole room for well under $200.00! Let's face it, I'm pretty awesome!